This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Word To Use Today: gigue.

A gigue is either an old dance, or a piece of music you could dance a gigue to if you felt like it. 

It's a skipping sort of an affair, rather joyful, and, as its name suggests, it's based on the old-fashioned and not-nearly-so-posh dance called the jig.

But but but...the thing is, although the word gigue sounds quite like th word jig, and the dance looks and sounds like a jig, and in fact is in every way like a jig (except for perhaps tending to be more intellectual and restrained) the similarity of the words seems to be a coincidence.

At least, that's what my Collins dictionary says, and other dictionaries are similarly cautious. 

Well, there's etymologists for you.

The word gigue does have some real connections, though - to the gigot, which can either be a leg of lamb or mutton or a leg of mutton sleeve:

File:Leg-of-mutton sleeve.jpg
drawing by David Ring to a commission from Europeana Fashion

and to the gigolo, who is a man paid to please ladies in various ways, most publicly by dancing with them: though a foxtrot, I should imagine, rather than a jig.

Word To Use Today: gigue. This word comes from French, from the Italian giga, a fiddle. The word jig, surprisingly, no one is quite sure about.

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